One of our favorite phrases heard around safari camps is “make a plan.” It’s a fascinating mix of being completely prepared and spontaneous at the same time. The environments are challenging and constantly changing, and living and working in the bush means that safari guides and camp staff have to be creative, quick-thinking and resourceful.
The pandemic has forced all of us to make a plan, and here is just a glimpse of how the safari community is responding to the challenges of the pandemic.

10 Reasons to Choose Africa First Post-Quarantine

Learn More About Our Partners At African Bush Camps


 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, global travel bans and the temporary closure of many safari camps across the region, this is a time to be mindful of the vulnerability of communities living alongside wildlife areas. Over the last three years, 1.5% of every guest’s stay in our camps has gone towards community and conservation projects. Combined with the direct contributions that our camps make to local community outreach, this amounts to nearly 1 million USD of committed funds. For the first time, we are reaching out to former guests, African enthusiasts, agents, friends and relatives to bolster our resources via the Natural Selection Foundation and help support the thousands of livelihoods that will be affected by the temporary closure of our camps.

The COVID-19 Village Support program will be transporting food parcels to remote villages to improve the nourishment of communities in the face of this unprecedented viral threat. Furthermore, our Elephant Express buses will be on the road along the panhandle of the Okavango Delta assisting people with access to clinics via dangerous elephant corridors. Your support in this unprecedented initiative is welcome and cherished.

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Ultimate Safaris has begun a real-life Conservation Travel series, documenting the current real time behind the scenes life of active conservation in Namibia, putting Conservation first. Below is the first episode of their Covid Chronicles.

CHECK OUT THE ULTIMATE SAFARIS COVID CHRONICLES YOUTUBE PLAYLIST


Chipego Bike Shop in Nakatindi was Sanctuary Retreat’s first women’s social enterprise project. The five women who are employed at the shop chose the name which means “gift”. The passion of the five mechanics is infectious; they love having guests visit to learn more. 

Over the past three and a half years, these extraordinary ladies have repaired and sold over 3,500 bikes, generated over $100,000 in income to pay for five resupply containers and still managed to support five pupils through school each year, contribute to the maternity ward construction and donate 30 bikes to secondary school pupils and 18 to community healthcare volunteers!

In 2019, Sanctuary partnered with the Nakatindi community to begin another economic empowerment initiative, the Sishemo bead studio. When the news broke earlier this year that Sanctuary Sussi and Chuma was closing temporarily due to the virus, the ladies at Sishemo were faced with losing the vast majority of their customer base overnight. Without pause, the Chipego Bike Shop ladies stepped in to offer immediate support.  Since March, Chipego has paid the Sishemo ladies a basic salary, while also reducing their own bike shop salaries. Without this homegrown relief package, the Sishemo Bead Studio may have been forced to close its doors, leaving the ladies with no income to support their families.

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We have implemented a creative process that is motivated and underpinned by a deep-seated understanding and awareness of what our guests will value most in a changed world, and fine-tuned every aspect of the Singita guest experience. Teams across all properties and areas of expertise have ingeniously crafted a host of new ways to enhance our offering and the intuitive care & attention guests experience at our lodges and camps.

The past few months also saw the completion of a fully redesigned lodge on the Serengeti plains. Our elevated guest experience and the reimagined Singita Sabora Tented Camp are set to be game-changers for African safaris in future.

Staying true to the brand and our core values, we have not missed a beat in pursuing our 100-year purpose. Highlights included hugely successful donation drives towards both wildlife conservation and emergency food relief programs.


We have always been known as the pioneers and leaders in guide training and nature training, but we wanted to ensure we once again stand the test of time.

1. This meant that we had to be innovative and look at our offering. We asked ourselves: “how do we ensure that we adapt to changing times and ensure that we actually provide value”? We successfully adapted our Safari guide training and provided our first live online course. We didn’t want to go the typical on-demand route just yet, as we know the value in ensuring that clients connect with one of the most knowledgeable teams in Africa…so, we went online but in a very personalized way to ensure the connection with our team is at the forefront.
2. We also started streaming daily content via our partners such as WildEarth and PaintedDog.TV to the globe in a variety of ways to ensure that our clients stay connected to EcoTraining and African wildlife. Hopefully, you are all connecting your clients and enjoying the TV programs, daily virtual safaris, or even the broadcasts in China over the weekends.
3. The newest development is that we are now also starting to combine our footprint in East and Southern Africa to bring you the best of both worlds as one itinerary. This exciting first step as part of our “Best year of your life” approach will see clients starting their year in the Masai Mara in October before moving to South Africa, and finally Botswana in 2021.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PARTNERS AT ECO TRAINING

 


Classic Africa Safaris delivered food supplies to the 464 gorilla trekking porters who assist guests as they track the mountain gorillas on the slopes of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Due to COVID-19, tourism has been suspended and the porters’ primary means of income has disappeared. With the cessation of tourism, the porters are living in near poverty and struggling to sustain their families. Along with the support of our North American travel trade partners and past safari goers, we raised over $12,000. CAS donated a vehicle, driver and office team, and covered the costs of the 4-day journey to Bwindi and the reconnaissance mission last month. Mahogany Springs Lodge accommodated the CAS team at no cost during the supply delivery.


As we look to the future, we see a new era of travel emerging. Pandemic protocols will undoubtedly influence the way we operate, but we also sense a more fundamental change on the horizon and one that we welcome wholeheartedly. As travel reawakens, we hope to see both travelers and the industry seeking more responsible travel, governed by a heightened environmental consciousness and a greater appreciation for the planet. With this in mind, The Safari Collection is proud to have joined Tourism Declares, a global initiative uniting travel companies to take purposeful action against climate change.

With births, wildebeest and re-openings, we certainly have a new spring in our step here at The Safari Collection. Things are looking up!

Learn More About Our Partners At The Safari Collection


We have worked hard to ensure guests who visit us have protection, as well as privacy through our private airstrip, private guides, private conservancy, private groups, and more. We also wanted to ensure, given how tough the last few months have been, a good amount of spoiling and pampering with complimentary massages and bush baths. Lastly, we encourage everyone choosing to stay with us, to share our purpose of supporting all our conservation efforts while we provide a highly professional and truly memorable safari experience for our guests. We have also added a ‘Stay Longer’ safari in the Maasai Mara to help clients mitigate further Covid-19 risks of moving from one camp to another and from one flight to another.


For us, September is the start of our emergence. We are sharing our thinking and some of our future plans with you, at the same time we invite you to join us on our journey. Over the next four months, we will dedicate time and energy to evolving. Be assured we are more committed to the success of our members than ever before, and seeking out more visionary, authentic, sustainable and trusted experiences across Africa. It is amazing what opportunities arise in a crisis.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PARTNERS AT CLASSIC PORTFOLIO

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